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Arachne Speaks

Marion Vannett Ridgway Honor Book (2002)

Orb weavers!
Weavers of tangled nets!
All eight-legged ones
whose spinnerets
weave the dome,
funnel and sheet,
who shuttle silk
between combed feet…
Cast to the four winds
my story’s thread—
let truth spread
like gossamer from your abdomens
across the fields of time!

Arachne, classical literature’s most famous weaver, exhorts her spider minions in this epic adaptation of a famous Greco-Roman myth.

The talented, rebellious teenage Arachne here tells her own story in unforgettable words. She speaks of her impoverished, motherless childhood and lonely pursuit of excellence in a bold, passionate voice. Her unshakable belief in herself and persistent questioning of divine authority lead to a dramatic confrontation with the goddess Athena, a fateful weaving contest and an unexpected transformation.

Poet Kate Hovey’s lyrical verse and Blair Drawson’s stunning artwork together create a timeless rendering of the ancient struggle between the headstrong Arachne and the powerful goddess Athena.

But wait, there’s more!

Voices of the Trojan War

Ancient Voices

Voices of the Trojan War

Ancient Voices

Praise for Arachne Speaks

“With brilliant use of language that resonates through every line, Hovey has woven a dynamic, original myth. Readers will revel as Arachne speaks and will hear her voice long after this resplendent work is savored. “

Lee Bennett Hopkins

Acclaimed poet, educator and anthologist

“A web of words as intricately beautiful and captivating as any spider’s web. Arachne Speaks fills its reader chock-full of courageous daring, makes us feel the equal – and more – of the vain and bullying gods. “

Geraldine McCaughrean

Award winning
British novelist

“This faithful, lyrical retelling of a Greek myth is one that Ovid would admire…The text, which incorporates the voices of both women, flows beautifully and will enliven the imaginations of the children who hear or read it. “

School Library Journal

“The tale’s Freudian overtones may give even adult readers a new perspective on classical mythology; younger ones of a certain temperament will respond to Arachne’s furious rejection of authority, however self-destructive that rebellion turns out to be. A powerful, disturbing debut for Hovey.”


“Arachne speaks to her spider descendants in consistently dramatic, imagistic verse…Together, art and text successfully challenge the boundaries of myth, stimulating readers to explore anew its proven terrains.”

Publishers Weekly Starred Review

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